Metro Manila office vacancy seen rising

The vacancy rate in the office market of Metro Manila is forecast to reach as much as 14 percent this year as demand softens due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exodus of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.

Lobien Realty Group CEO Sheila Lobien said the Metro Manila office market closed 2020 with a vacancy rate of eight percent.

Lobien added, “We feel that in the next few months, this can be double digit 12 percent to probably 14 percent vacancy rate… because many office buildings are being vacated. The exit of POGO affected the market’s vacancy rate.”

LRG expects a 25 to 30 percent decline in rental rates starting this year.

It said rental rate computations for 2020 “have not reflected the decrease due to the POGOs’ contractual agreements of about a year’s worth of security and advance deposits, which protected the landlords’ rent income during the lockdowns and despite the numerous lease pre-terminations.”

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